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The UN and BMW Take a Unique Approach toward Cultural Diversity

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In 2011, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group forged a partnership to create a new model for collaboration between the private sector and the UN. 

Founded in 2005 under the leadership of the Governments of Turkey and Spain with former Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the head of a group of experts, the UNAOC looks into social and cultural polarization among different societies. A report published by the expert group put forward practical recommendations that later formed the basis for an implementation plan by the UNAOC.

Marking the second year of their partnership, the UNAOC and the BMW Group announced the 2013 finalists for the Intercultural Innovation Award with a mandate to choose highly innovative grassroots projects that promote dialogue and intercultural understanding and make vital contributions to prosperity and peace in global societies. The most outstanding projects receive award money as well as consulting services from the BMW Group and the UNAOC.

 Ten finalists will present their projects at the Viennese Volkstheatre on Tuesday, February 26th2013President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Incoming United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, will chair the ceremony, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. High-level representatives of the UNAOC and the BMW Group will give the award to the five top organizations.

In addition to offering a monetary prize, the UNAOC and the BMW Group are committed to helping these projects expand and replicate in other settings where they may be useful. Winners will become members of the World Intercultural Facility for Innovation (WIFI). 

The following are this year’s finalists: 

Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group – Recycling as Bridge and Binder (India): It promotes understanding between poor migrants and the middle class and wealthy residents of New Delhi.

Cultural Infusion – Sound Infusion (Australia): It’s an innovative digital learning platform which utilizes music from all over the world to build intercultural understanding.

FilmAid – Filmmaker Training and Screening Program for Refugees and Host Communities (Kenya): It creates opportunities for refugees and their host communities in refugee camps and urban areas across Kenya to share their stories.

Immigropoly (Hungary): A unique Internet-based character-game to increase the understanding of migration and integration in our global world, and targeted towards youth communities.

Kapamagogopa Volunteers – Muslim Youth Volunteering for interfaith dialogue and understanding (Philippines): Local young Muslims are mobilized to work as volunteers in non-Muslim organizations to promote dialogue, understanding and development to non-Muslim and Muslim communities in Mindanao.

Plain Ink – When change reads like a book (Italy): A pioneering, non-profit social venture harnessing the power of stories, comics and children’s books to help children and communities overcome the stumbling blocks of poverty and social exclusion.

Puerta Joven – Languages of Youth (Mexico): A youth-led organization teaches the use of arts and new technologies as a way to promote cultural interaction and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Search for Common Ground Morocco – Multimedia & Intercultural relations in Morocco: It brings together young Moroccans and sub-Saharan migrants in Rabat and Casablanca to learn about video & multimedia and break down cultural stereotypes and prejudices.

TakingITGlobal – TakingITGlobal Online Community (Canada): It works to empower youth to understand and act on the world’s greatest challenges. It serves youth worldwide through a multilingual online learning community and innovative education programs geared towards fostering active global citizenship.

The Parents Circle – Crack in the Wall (Israel/Palestine): A neutral social network platform on Facebook with more than 10,000 active users. CITW allows Palestinians and Israelis to communicate with one another and express themselves on various topics through video, pictures, and posts with provided translation to the other language.